I want to preface this by saying that if you want to be successful especially over the long term, you need discipline and consistency. This article is me sharing with you the strategies I’ve found that have helped me in getting that initial boost of motivation to get started, but consistency and dedication is what will drive you forward in life.
Maintaining motivation is hard, and for consistency you will have to do things when you don’t feel like it. The strategies below will help you get started, but beyond that it’s up to you.
The easiest thing to do, is to just set a timer for 5 minutes and just get started. Even if it is for only 5 minutes, because within that time window all initial fears about the activity will dissipate and you’ll magically feel motivated to continue and complete the task.
Something you can also try is to limit how much time you procrastinate. Procrastination is natural and you’ll never get rid of it fully. But setting a timer to allow yourself to procrastinate makes procrastination a much more easier task, and it helps you truly relax and refresh before your next focused session.
Typically, we can maximally be driven for about 30 minutes, which is why I tend to preach the pomodoro technique. Setting a timer for 25 minute work periods, followed by 5 minute rest periods allow for increased efficiency and reduced fatigue over the long term. Motivation is great, but going for a 2 hour stretch is a great way to guarantee that you won’t have any motivation left by the end of it. Break your tasks up into 25 minute periods.
The next thing is known as urge surfing, when you’re 10-15 minutes into your work session, you might get an urge to check your phone, or check your messenger, instagram and so on. Knowing that it is still within your work window, just ride the urge. Don’t act on it, instead sit with the urge and notice how it feels. Simply notice and within a few seconds you’ll notice that the urge disappears, and you can continue with your work.
Something you may also find beneficial is changing your environment. If you want to make it easier to go gym, lay out your gym clothes on your couch so that when you wake up and enter your living room, you’ll see it and realise what you should do. If you want to clean up your diet, throw out the food you don’t want to be eating. To use your phone less, leave it in the other room, same with a TV remote. Make the things you know you should do easier, and the bad habits harder to do.
Lastly, practice breath meditation. Very simply it’s setting a timer on your phone for 1-30 minutes, depending on schedule, to focus just on your breath. Start with 1 minute, and work your way up as you get better. Naturally, your attention will move away, gently bring it back to the breath. The more you practice, the stronger your ability to control your focus, and you’ll be able to focus with greater intensity.
Hope this helps you, see you next time.